It has been a year since stay-at-home orders across the United States went into effect for COVID-19. Many of us have gotten used to the “new normal”. However, the uncertainty of whether the virus is going away and if vaccinations will be available still exists. Many Americans are feeling stressed, anxious, and depressed. By nature, humans have biological responses to stressful situations. Have you had more headaches, irregular mood swings, and irritability, blotchy skin, or jaw pain? Studies show that when the body is under stress, it will release stress-fighting hormones. When released for a long period of time, the body can be sent into overdrive, with effects felt throughout the body. One common example is headaches. To help us fight stress at its onset, let’s dig deeper into positive and healthy ways to deal with pandemic stress.
Healthy Ways to Deal with Stress:
Unplug. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. While keeping yourself up to date with the latest news can be educational, it can adversely cause constant stress. Try limiting your media intake to just a couple of times a day. Mindfully disconnect yourself from the phone, TV, and computer screens, especially before going to bed.
Self Care. Take care of your body and mind by meditating, eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep, and taking time to do activities you truly enjoy.
Check-in on the people you love. Call, facetime, video chat, or even pick up your pen and send your loved ones a greeting card. While the pandemic can leave us feeling lonely, sad, or vulnerable, take time to reach out to people who bring you joy and laughter. Digital socializing can be a key to stop yourself from feeling the blues! Set a fixed time each week to virtually meet with family and friends far away. You may not know who else may be struggling with you. Connecting with someone you love can help reduce stress and leave you feeling more positive.
Exercise Regularly. Exercise can reduce stress and anxiety, and can boost serotonin over time. Find an exercise routine that works best for you and your schedule. By adding consistency to your routine, you can look forward to your scheduled workouts. Your body will thank you later when you are more fit and energized than ever before.
- Get Plenty of Sleep. Sleep can be a powerful stress reducer. A regular sleep routine can calm and help to restore the body. It can improve concentration, regulate your mood, and refine judgment and decision-making. After a good night’s sleep, problem solving and coping with everyday stress will be a little easier to handle.
Stress can be seen as a constant factor in many people’s lives. Identify what triggers your stress and create healthy coping strategies that work for you! We can do it together. Let’s find what makes us feel more comfortable in our day to day living, so we can all thrive in a brighter, more joyful life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with stress of the pandemic, please seek immediate help*:
- Call 911
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (link to: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org): 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chat
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522